What qualities make you want to stay in a place?
I recently visited Austin, Texas, for the first time. Expectations were high. Twenty-nine and mobile, I figured this was where I was supposed to find all manner of intrigue, weirdness and cultural artifacts for the subversively cool. Instead I drove away scratching my head, more struck by the sense of a city passing through Hipsterdom than anything grounded in a history or a hope.
Why, in the midst of daring reinventions of ramen, rich coffee and live bands at every bar was I still feeling empty, like everything was styled without having an identifiable pulse to style. What was it about Austin that left me wanting more grit, and was it fair for me to judge?
Photo by Trey Ratcliff–see more of his incredible photography here.
Anne Snyder is a member of the Humane Pursuits editorial board. She is currently living in Houston, Texas, where she is studying the assimilation patterns of the city’s growing immigrant population while also working for the Laity Lodge Leadership Initiative. She has started a biweekly column for the Orange County Register and freelances elsewhere. Before moving to Houston she worked in the Op-Ed department of The New York Times in Washington, DC, and before that at World Affairs Journal and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Originally from Boston but given the cross-cultural bug from a childhood spent in Hong Kong and Australia, she holds a B.A. from Wheaton College (IL) and an M.A. from Georgetown University.